Many Christians have uttered the phrase “What is the world coming to?” in the recent months and perhaps especially in recent days. Billy Graham has been quoted as saying “I’ve read the last page of the Bible and it’s all going to turn out all right.” While we wait, should we get stirred up, write vitriolic posts on Facebook or throw up our hands in disgust?
According to A.W. Tozer, we should be Preparing for Jesus’ Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope. A.W. Tozer was a pastor and author who died in the early 1960’s, yet his writing is as relevant today as it was then. A man of uncommon insight and unwavering faith, Tozer taught with a clarity and conviction that shines a spotlight on what really matters in the lives of Christians. Not one to be distracted by the times, he speaks directly through the noise of then-modern culture to point his readers to the one true object they should focus on. What is always amazing to me is how every Tozer book I’ve ever read sounds as though he wrote it last week.
In this unique look at the book of Revelation, Tozer focuses not only on the biblical text but also the subject of prophecy in general-how it should be viewed and just as importantly, how it should not. He was a firm believer in the necessity of clear and biblical teaching on the end times and that applying ourselves to the subject would help us as disciples of the One whose return we await, which he calls our Blessed Hope.
Do we live in a time of the signs we see in scripture? Do we have fulfilled prophecy to look at as a harbinger of the future? Yes, and Tozer makes the case that what is often lost in the details of those prophecies is the main subject-Jesus and His return. While this isn’t an exhaustive commentary of Revelation, it covers the main events and helps us discover the underlying spiritual lessons for you and me today. It isn’t knowing what’s coming for the sake of knowing, but for a greater purpose, as he says in one chapter:
“So many Christians are addicted to Bible conferences or workshops where they hear teaching on bible prophecy. For the most part, these do not change one’s life, and although we enjoy time spent studying the Scriptures on this theme, we leave and go back to life as it was before, unaffected by the truth. The Blessed Hope needs to be infectious in our daily life. (Emphasis mine) It needs to be as essential as the air we breathe. We must be cautious not to allow the focus of our study to get off Jesus Christ. In addition, we must be courageous to keep the central purpose of the Blessed Hope in view and not become stuck in the quagmire of religious trivialities.”
A life change today is the purpose of the knowing of what’s coming. While the focus of the book is to alert Christians to the seriousness of the times so they can prepare for Christ’s return, the motive is to encourage the hope of believers. And in that hope, we should have joy in knowing our future as we seek to be conformed into the image of the One who is coming. So often we are stirred by world events, wars that ebb and flow, changes in power or the economy or morality that we become earthbound instead of heaven minded. We become consumed with details instead of our Savior.
The last chapter is titled “Daily Live the Blessed Hope” and encourages us on the ways we can stay focused on the truth. It includes daily disciplines for every believer, the whole purpose of which, Tozer says, “is daily wean us from the world. I have often said and will continue to say that the world is too much with us, even in the church. We must come to a place where the world no longer fascinates us but rather we are highly fascinated with the Blessed Hope. All of these things will create within us an expectation of looking out for the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a book that should be in the prophecy section of your personal library. If you don’t have a prophecy section in your personal library, start one with this book. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and while we wait let us be Preparing for Jesus’s Return.